By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com January 27, 2013 at 8:05AM
Is Ben Affleck about to have the last, perhaps bittersweet, laugh this year? The director was snubbed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences earler this year and failed to earn a crucial Best Director nomination for the 85th Academy Awards Nominees but his third picture, the political thriller, "Argo," did pick up seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, and then began a late day surge in the awards field. Affleck ironically won Best Director at the Golden Globes and the Critics' Choice Awards making this latest win feel like a fait accompli.
After a bit of a breather from the awards season due to the Sundance Film Festival (in recent years, Oscar noms are announced during the festival, but the Academy moved it up this year), barely minutes elapsed between the Sundance awards ceremony and the first of an upcoming wave of precursors awards ceremonies.
Last night was the Producers Guild Awards, one of the more reliable predictors of Best Picture as of late (they've gone five for five in the last few years). This year, they've provided another twist to the most surprising Oscar season in years by giving their top prize to Affleck, Grant Heslov and George Clooney for their film "Argo."
A strong contender for much of the season, "Argo"'s Oscar chances were seemingly stymied when Affleck failed to pick up a Best Director nomination from the Academy, usually something of a deal-breaker when it comes to Best Picture contenders. But clearly, "Argo" being a movie about producers appealed here. As such, the PGA victory would appear to suggest that it's still very much in play, even if, should it win, it would become the first film since "Driving Miss Daisy" in 1989 to take the top prize without a Best Director nomination. Still, don't count out "Lincoln," "Silver Linings Playbook" or "Life Of Pi," among others.
Other winners included "Wreck-It Ralph" for Animated Film, which would seem to give it a bounce above its closest competition "Frankenweenie," and "Searching For Sugar Man" in Documentary, while "Homeland," "Game Change" and "Modern Family" were among the TV winners. The Weinstein Brothers, J.J. Abrams, TIm Bevan and Eric Fellner and Russell Simmons all won lifetime-achievement-type awards. Awards season keeps pushing on this evening with the SAG Awards, so check back then to see how that turns out.
Full list of winners below.
2013 Producers Guild Of America Award Winners
The Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures
Argo (Warner Bros.)
Producers: Ben Affleck, George Clooney, Grant Heslov
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures
Wreck-It Ralph (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Producer: Clark Spencer
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures
Searching For Sugar Man (Sony Pictures Classics)
Producers: Malik Bendjelloul, Simon Chinn
The Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama
Producers: Henry Bromell, Alexander Cary, Michael Cuesta, Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Chip Johannessen, Michael Klick, Meredith Stiehm
The David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television
Game Change (HBO)
Producers: Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks, Jay Roach, Amy Sayres, Steven Shareshian, Danny Strong
The Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Comedy
Modern Family (ABC)
Producers: Cindy Chupack, Paul Corrigan, Abraham Higginbotham, Ben Karlin, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Morton, Dan O’Shannon, Jeffrey Richman, Chris Smirnoff, Brad Walsh, Bill Wrubel, Danny Zuker
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television:
American Masters (PBS)
Producers: Prudence Glass, Susan Lacy, Julie Sacks
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Competition Television
The Amazing Race (CBS)
Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer, Elise Doganieri, Jonathan Littman, Bertram van Munster, Mark Vertullo
The Award for Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment & Talk Television
The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)
Producers: Meredith Bennett, Stephen Colbert, Richard Dahm, Paul Dinello, Barry Julien, Matt Lappin, Emily Lazar, Tanya Michnevich Bracco, Tom Purcell, Jon Stewart
The Award for Outstanding Sports Program
Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel (HBO)
The Award for Outstanding Children’s Program
Sesame Street (PBS)
“The Weight of the Nation for Kids: The Great Cafeteria Takeover” (HBO)
The Award for Outstanding Digital Series
“30 Rock: The Webisodes” (www.nbc.com)